Food banks across the UK are expecting to see a significant rise in demand this winter as compared with the same period of last year.
The Trussell Trust, which runs a nationwide network of food banks, has said it anticipates seeing around a 61 per cent increase in demand for emergency food parcels at its facilities between October and the end of the year.
It is expected that around 846,000 food parcels will be needed this winter by people who otherwise might not be able to feed themselves or their families.
Those estimates are based on research conducted for the charity by the Heriot-Watt University, with the ongoing pandemic cited as the main reason why so many more people are struggling to cover their most essential costs this year.
Families with children are among those understood to be most likely to find themselves relying on food banks as the virus crisis goes on.
It’s hoped that government support will be forthcoming and able to help many thousands of people avoid reaching the point whereby they need to visit their local food bank but operators of those services nonetheless expect a significant increase in demand.
“Our research finds that Covid-19 has led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time,” said Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust.
“But it doesn’t have to be like this…we must act now to put in place protection for each other.”
Among the actions that the Trussell Trust would like to see taken by relevant policymakers is the locking in of the £20 increase in Universal Credit payments that was introduced initially at the start of the pandemic.
The charity has also called for a suspension of benefit debt deductions “until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced”.
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Politicians planning to stand in the upcoming Holyrood elections are being urged to take action to help tackle key issues relating to poverty among families across Scotland.
The number of Scots struggling to keep a roof over their heads is sure to rise in the coming months as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.
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